Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Czech & Slovak Games Week Steam Sale

Today is a very special day not only for the Czech Republic, our home country, but also for our friends in Slovakia. On this very day 102 years ago (October 28th 1918), Czechoslovakia declared independence. Many things have changed since that time - most importantly, in 1993, former Czechoslovakia split into 2 separate countries: The Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic. But the year 1918 still remains the most significant milestone in the recent history of both countries to this date.

To commemorate this special day, Avi Duda, a producer here at SCS Software, came up with an idea that would bring together game developers from across Czechia and Slovakia - to feature their games in a special Steam event. It all started recently when Avi noticed and was inspired by a similarly-styled Swiss Developer Sale on Steam. Says Avi, "I liked the idea of a national sale showcase a lot, it felt like something which would make an impact for the Czech and Slovak game industry... I wanted to highlight not only the best-known games, but also indie games because they need the most support; indies always have to try hard to be visible and have their games discovered." 

As a representative of SCS Software, Avi went ahead to share the idea with the Czech Game Developers Association. "I suggested doing this sale together, as it's something I love doing, and several other developers we probed got back to us supporting the notion". It gained so much positive attention that Pavel Barák, The Chairman of the Czech GDA, went on to contact the Slovak Game Developers Association to ask if they would like to join in for such an occasion. In the next 3 days, the GDA received an overwhelming response from 50 different developers registering their interest in this idea. 

Still, this was only a start, we had to get Steam/Valve aboard with the idea. It took a while, but we have been fortunate to do so thanks to the united voice of the biggest Czech game developer studios. Many weeks have passed as we were trying to arrange the sale. Finally, with the confirmation in-hand and a looming deadline, this final element was required - artwork for the Steam sale page.

Enter Anna Voříšková, a talented artist here at SCS Software. "I fell in love with the idea right away," she said. "I thought it was amazing and I had to be a part of this project!" Immediately, Anna started sketching up ideas for the artwork that would eventually be featured in front of the massive Steam userbase. She goes on to explain her ideas behind the final featured design... "I knew I wanted to make something cute, playful, and eye-catching, but at the same time, I wanted it to have a homely, familiar feeling to it. I figured placing different video game characters and objects on a gamer's desk and have them interact with each other would be the right idea! And since I like to use unnatural colours in my work, I decided to go for a palette full of bright pinks and purples, inspired by the LED lights that often frame gaming setups".

The final artwork features vibrant colours, objects, and characters from a whole host of games from both countries, as featured in the Steam sale event. "It's been a huge honour for me to have had the opportunity to represent both the Czech & Slovak game industries in my artwork." Anna says "I'm really proud of what we've managed to create together, considering how tiny our team was, and how little time we had. I had a lot of fun creating graphics for the event, it's been a truly unique experience and I really hope I get to be a part of something similar again in the future!"

Thanks to the hard work of Avi and Anna, today you can find over 160 games on sale from 72 developers. We encourage you to explore and check out the wide array of games available, created by studios large and small, as well as individual developers. We are proud to see that our small region in Central Europe has produced so many fantastic games played by people all over the planet.

The sale only runs until November 2nd, so make sure to check out all the amazing games and the original featured artwork on Steam's Czech & Slovak Games Week page HERE.

As a historical footnote, you may find this recent article at Ars Technica of interest. It's a well-researched piece exploring the ancient history of Communist-era illicit text-based games produced by kids in Czechoslovakia as a way to protest against the oppression of the regime - pioneers and to a large extent forgotten heroes at the dawn of what is now the Czech and Slovak games industry.

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